In this beautiful but isolated and impoverished area most people walk at least two or three hours to a village dispensary, and the nearest hospital is 2 -3 hours by car if the roads have not been washed away but nobody owns a car. A bicycle is a luxury and few people can afford to pay for transport even with a motorcycle taxi. Therefore one of the major building blocks of the ongoing battle with the disastrous consequences of the HIV/Aids pandemic was to provide immediate improvement to existing healthcare infrastructure which people could access and most importantly the provision of testing equipment locally. When diagnosed patients can receive their Anti Retroviral Drugs, now funded by the Tanzanian Government, and can SURVIVE.
Younger, working age people are principally victims to the disease – leaving their families destitute, unable to care for their families, grandparents overwhelmed, the extended family destroyed by the burden.
The project area is centred on Igoda village, Mufindi District
16 villages, 35,000 population
It is a ‘hot spot’ for HIV/Aids
37% – 44% of people are infected. Compared to national average 5% – 7%
Approximately 40% of children have lost at least one parent
Average income less than a dollar a day
Life expectancy = 43 yrs
The construction and operating of the HIV/AIDS Care and Treatment Centre(CTC) at Mdabulo, located in a central position for our target area, has made a huge difference to the local community.
In 2010, for the first time, people could access testing for HIV/Aids in their home area. Once tested positive, they could access Anti Retro Viral drugs, enabling them to resist the ravages of the disease and continue caring for their families, working their small farms, providing food. Since then we have refurbished the existing Maternity Wing, encouraging Mothers to come to the centre for their deliveries, many of our orphans lost their mothers through complications in child birth. Patients must attend for testing regularly once a month. The NGO built and equipped the CTC and continues to fund staffing.
5000+ people are currently attending, increasing month on month.
But we didn’t stop there!
Our current project at Mdabulo is the new hospital wing, Construction is completed and consulting rooms plus the dental clinic are in use by visiting clinicians and dentists.
We need more funds to equip, complete and improve this project and for it to be a fully functioning unit with in patient wards.
- An Esther anaesthetic machine or similar
- A digital X ray machine
- Ongoing funding for some staff members in order to be able to carry out more procedures.
- A small generator to cope with power cuts
At present people have to finance a lengthy and arduous journey to the nearest hospital, even for an X-Ray, which is all too often impossible for them financially.
Chest infection and tuberculosis are a common and potentially deadly effect of HIV/Aids.
X-rays are required for accurate diagnosis and treatment.
We have, as yet no X-ray capability in our district.
Home Based Care
One of the most effective weapons in our fight to defeat sickness and ensuing poverty is the emergence of the Home Based Care Team which now has thirty strong outreach workers.
The outreach workers are local people equipped with mobile phones, who have undertaken a monitoring role in their villages, encouraging people to come forward for testing, the first and most important step overcoming stigma and prejudice regarding HIV/Aids. Then, they continue to keep an eye on the diagnosed patients who must attend once a month for retesting and to receive their ARVs for the next month. Distances are great here and it can be difficult for unwell patients to make the journey, the ongoing commitment and encouragement of the outreach workers can make a difference between life and death.
Malnourished, frail , mother dead and father unable to cope, a visit from the Home Based Care team saved his life.
Only one vehicle is available for the often arduous journey to the villages but the volunteer outreach workers were delighted by the gift of bicycles from two kind donors. A little goes a long way in Tanzania!
The Home Based Care team liaises with the Outreach workers, making many difficult, bumpy journeys dirt roads, targeting the most sick and vulnerable people in distant villages, bringing medical care to those who would otherwise fall through the net.
Dispensing advice, medicine, sometimes helping with funds to enable people to travel to Hospital for X-rays .
We are now reaching even the most distant villages in our area, thanks to their efforts.
Milk Powder Programme
Many babies, in the Children’s Village and in the wider community owe their chance of a healthy life to the remarkable and unsung Milk Powder Programme. In our Outreach work HIV infected nursing mothers are encouraged to join the programme and to bottle feed their babies with Formula in order to prevent the transmission of HIV from their mothers.
The Outreach workers also keep an eye out for any underweight infants and toddlers in their areas as they too can be enrolled on the programme to receive Formula or Lishe (porridge) powder.
The programme ensures regular weighing and monitoring and education for the mothers in nutrition, family planning, hygiene etc.
Since its inception six years ago we have helped 230 vulnerable infants and toddlers in our target area.
We hope to continue and expand this lifesaving programme in the future and to use the monthly meetings of the Milk Powder recipients to increase the educational aspect, using the services of doctors, nurses, etc to teach the carers.
For more information about the milk formula click on the image above.